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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Letting participants of meetings get quick meeting notes right away

The concept of meeting notes is a much debated concept, with people having their own concepts of the timing, method and tracking of meeting notes. There are dedicated software for tracking and generating meeting notes, with one of the software being from Microsoft, which integrates well with Microsoft Outlook. And there are mobile and web based software solutions that increase the device range. One thing is for sure, if meeting notes are not available, one is condemned to have more meetings, as well as start losing people from these meetings (many would consider non-sending of such notes as an unprofessional practise and could also highlight this issue when they decline the invitation for a meeting).
So what is the practice that I have learnt works the best ? Now, this one may not be directly possible, and it depends on the people invited to the meeting; but it worked across many different sets of people, with varying work profiles.
Most people, after having attended a meeting where one or more issue has been discussed would have the issue fresh in their mind. It is also possible that even though during the discussion, people may not have proposed a solution, by the time that the meeting disperses and they go back to their offices, the solution or proposed paths to the solution would be coming to them. At such a time, if they are able to see an email which has the meeting notes along with the issue under discussion and action items, they will be able to quickly reply back.
How does this happen though ? Sending meeting notes almost at the same time as the meeting ends ? Well, for the person taking the meeting notes, it requires them to very attentive and taking down all the meaningful points of the discussion that is happening (but not required to record everything and anything - the idea is that meaningful points need to be covered, decisions notes, and action items recorded along with the person responsible for the action item and a end date by which the action item needs to be completed).
If this kind of note taking is happening, and the person taking down the notes has knowledge of the items being discussed, this kind of detail of the meeting can be put down fairly as and when the meeting is progressing, and where there is a decision that has been taken or an action item that has been put forward, it is fairly fine to actually get a clarification if there is any doubt. Once this kind of level of detail is happening, it takes very little time after the meeting to actually refine the meeting notes, add some presentation to the entire notes (in terms of bullet points, action items and due dates) and send this out.
What happens if this kind of note taking and confirmation is not possible just after the meeting (there may be another meeting happening or the matter may be very detailed and it would take time to get a precise detail), but it is still important to ensure that people remember stuff, a rough notes can be sent out while mentioning that these are rough notes and final notes will be sent out later. However, people should know / understand why it is not possible to send out the final version of the notes right now.

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